The Congress finds that
(1) the Alaska Railroad, which was built by the Federal Government to serve the transportation and development needs of the Territory of Alaska, presently is providing freight and passenger services that primarily benefit residents and businesses in the State of Alaska;
(2) many communities and individuals in Alaska are wholly or substantially dependent on the Alaska Railroad for freight and passenger service and provision of such service is an essential governmental function;
(3) continuation of services of the Alaska Railroad and the opportunity for future expansion of those services are necessary to achieve Federal, State, and private objectives; however, continued Federal control and financial support are no longer necessary to accomplish these objectives;
(4) the transfer of the Alaska Railroad and provision for its operation by the State in the manner contemplated by this chapter is made pursuant to the Federal goal and ongoing program of transferring appropriate activities to the States;
(5) the States continued operation of the Alaska Railroad following the transfer contemplated by this chapter, together with such expansion of the railroad as may be necessary or convenient in the future, will constitute an appropriate public use of the rail system and associated properties, will provide an essential governmental service, and will promote the general welfare of Alaskas residents and visitors; and
(6) in order to give the State government the ability to determine the Alaska Railroads role in serving the States transportation needs in the future, including the opportunity to extend rail service, and to provide a savings to the Federal Government, the Federal Government should offer to transfer the railroad to the State, in accordance with the provisions of this chapter, in the same manner in which other Federal transportation functions (including highways and airports) have been transferred since Alaska became a State in 1959.